Books #5 & 6

I was originally going to post about re-reading the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring. I have since decided against that. Not that I don’t love these books – I really, really, really do. But for now, it will just be mentioned that I read it and have moved on.

I need to spend more time talking about another book that I read, a book that I was both looking forward to reading and dreading at the same time: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

 For anyone who doesn’t know, John Green is one half of the very popular YouTube channel “The Vlogbrothers,” along with his brother, Hank. I have watched their videos for years and am proud to call myself a Nerdfighter. I have also read all of John’s previous books and, naturally, was excited when I heard that another one was forthcoming. However, once I heard more about it, I had some reservations.

The Fault in Our Stars is about a teenage girl who has terminal cancer.

This is such a trigger subject for so many people. I had no doubt that John would handle the subject appropriately, but still, it seemed like such a downer. There can’t be a happy ending to this story, right? No matter what happens, unless there’s some kind of cheap miracle cure, the main character will be facing death and, potentially, so will other characters as well. I knew I had to read this book. I had preordered it so that I would get a signed copy. But I also knew that there would be no escaping it – John Green was about to make me cry. Again.

And yet . . . I was glad to see that there was such humor in the book. All the characters are facing major challenges, either dealing with cancer themselves or watching with a loved one deal with it, and yet it doesn’t completely consume them. Their lives are hard, but still worthwhile. Another thing I liked was how real the characters felt – how matter-of-fact they were about their lives. The main character, Hazel, is very blunt about how her lungs are crap and she needs to have portable oxygen. It’s not shown as a big production. It’s just there. Part of her life, but not her entire life.

It’s a beautiful love story between Hazel and Gus, a boy she meets at a support group for cancer patients and survivors. There are highs and lows, things that are ugly and things that are beautiful. One of the things I love most about Hazel in particular is how she loses herself in a book, so much so that she dreams of meeting the author just to find out what happens to the characters after the book ends. This girl could be my sister – I totally understand how she feels! They end up on a whirlwind trip to Amsterdam to track down this reclusive author and, I have to say, it is so incredibly romantic and sweet and I now want to visit Amsterdam someday.

This book was hard to read at times and, yes, I bawled like a baby towards the end. But it was also incredibly rewarding to read and brilliantly written.

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